Malevolent Scum 2: Electric Boogaloo

To borrow a phrase from a scribe at Car and Driver, there are three sides of the law: wrong, right, and above. Guess which one(s) might apply here:

Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial.

According to the San Diego Reader, which reported on Tuesday that a judge had opted to prevent Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial,” Olson must now stand trial for on 13 counts of vandalism.

In addition to possibly spending years in jail, Olson will also be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank slogans that were left using washable children’s chalk on a sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in interest-free loans from the US government in 2008-2009 in a bid to keep it solvent after bad bets went south.

Said the judge in question:

“The State’s Vandalism Statute does not mention First Amendment rights,” ruled Judge [Howard] Shore on Tuesday.

Nor does it mention weapons-grade stupidity, evidently:

According to Olson, who spoke with local broadcaster KGTV, one Bank of America branch claimed it had cost $6,000 to clean up the chalk writing.

Six thousand clams to clean up children’s chalk? How are these imbeciles managing to stay in business? As if we didn’t know.

(Via Joanna Blackhart. Previous installments of Malevolent Scum: the original and the first rip-off.)


  1. McGehee »

    28 June 2013 · 7:11 am

    “The State’s Vandalism Statute does not mention First Amendment rights,” ruled Judge [Howard] Shore on Tuesday.

    The law school that graduated him needs to demand the return of its diploma.

  2. McGehee »

    28 June 2013 · 7:17 am

    As to the Bank of Mos Eisley, it’s kind of weird. We won’t put our money in Wells Fargo, but when we borrow from them we get treated very well. And while we’re happy as BofA depositors, we’ve never borrowed much from them, and never considered them as a mortgage lender. Then again, Wife of Slog and I have never deposited much with them either, not being particularly well-heeled ourselves…

  3. Roger Green »

    28 June 2013 · 8:18 am

    For $6K, I could fly down there, stay a few days down there, rent a hose and bucket and ladder to clean it up, fly back, and make a tidy profit.

    First Amendment – there, I said it, judge.

  4. Mark Alger »

    28 June 2013 · 9:15 am

    Seems to me that the judge needs to be acquainted with the law regarding actions taken under color of law to deny free exercise of FEDERAL constitutionally protected rights. He’s not immune. The law contemplates no such thing as sovereign immunity. (Well, the judge isn’t the sovereign anyway, so he CAN’T be immune.)

    The only way these f***wits will learn is from a bloody nose. Sorry to have to say it, but there it is.


  5. fillyjonk »

    28 June 2013 · 9:53 am

    They could do like my campus did: wait for the rain to take care of it.

    It does, eventually. Apparently even with actual spray paint on actual concrete.

    Not sure, though, when the peace sign that someone thought was oh-so-brilliant to paint on a tree trunk will wear off….

  6. CGHill »

    28 June 2013 · 11:23 am

    Meanwhile, Judge Dreadful has imposed a gag order. Pique level: ELEVATED.

  7. Tatyana »

    28 June 2013 · 12:13 pm

    And, sadly, knowing how the juries operate, I wouldn’t be surprised if their verdict will be “guilty”.

  8. McGehee »

    28 June 2013 · 5:10 pm

    What is needed is a way for higher courts to find judges like this guy in contempt, with penalties and possible jail time.


  9. Earnest Weaver »

    30 June 2013 · 2:16 am

    Orlando police violated an Occupy Orlando demonstrator’s free-speech rights by arresting him for writing protest messages in chalk on the plaza in front of City Hall, a federal judge ruled Friday.

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